Published: March 8th 2007February 27th 2007
2 days ago, Omar, Shanti and I returned from our first vacation together. We decided to go to much talked about Phuket island.
After extensive research on the internet and after talking to some people that had been there we had this idea of "paradise" with wonderful beaches, excellent food, nice people, etc and in some way, YES, IT IS TRUE!! but it can also very well be a very rough "Sin City".
Here's the story:
Got the tickets after much work and money (since everybody goes to sunny destinations during Chinese New Year, there were only business class tix available), wanted to book a hotel that supported a foundation protecting turtles that latched eggs in one of the Phuket beaches but of course one day before we confirmed the reservation, a huge group booked all of the 80 rooms left in the hotel and we ended up with biz class tickets but no hotel. ALL the other hotels we wanted were fully booked... Did I mention that EVERY FOREIGNER living in China goes away for Chinese New Year?
Finally we decided for this boutique hotel called Twin Palms in Surin Beach. I had looked at the
hotel before having Shanti because it seemed a very romantic place, sort of a "base" for Phuket assuming you want to go out diving or to other islands... Well, this was the only hotel available.
So we left cold Shanghai with bathing suits, sunblock, and lots of cute outfits for Shanti.
Got there and yes, it was sunny, warm and people were very nice although only half of them spoke enough English to help out if we had a question. Nice small hotel, good food, great pool, lots of other babies but the best thing was the weather.
THE BEACH: If you see at the pictures I am including, you will know what I mean when I say that Phuket has nice beaches but NO NICER than those in Mexico or the Caribbean... Still Playa del Carmen and the Bahamas are my favorites. So when you hear about the GREAT beaches in Thailand, be careful not to spend thousands of dollars just to get there, you can find beaches of the same quality in the Caribbean. To me, what happens is that most of the people going to Phuket are from Sweden, Norway and Germany that have
very cold and dry climates when Thailand is always sunny and warm, so it becomes (like the Canary Islands) an "easy to get there" destination with direct flights and a whole community doing reviews about the different places and living there.
So my advise is: Don't spend the thousands of dollars for the beaches in Phuket, do spend the money because of the great culture, wonderful temples and great food and yes, spend on trips to OTHER islands and diving tours, those are the real deal... Unfortunately with a baby, they were off limits for us, considering you have to travel 1+ hour in a speed boat under the sun and 35 degrees celcius.
THE PEOPLE: Thais are great, really nice people, however, we have to say that prostitution is every where and REALLY open. Funny enough, topless is against Thai law but prostitution and public solicitation is OK... So when Omar and I were walking by the streets, lots of pretty and young girls (from probably 16 to 20 years old) wearing VERY short miniskirts and lots of make up were advertising" Gentle touch massage" or "My thong -this is the name- massage parlor" winking at Omar.
HELLO??? He is walking with his wife AND his baby???? It just looked so rough and wild.
THE HOTEL: I was a bit dissapointed of the hotel, it was not really a resort and way too expensive for what they offered, they charged additional money for everything! Even for using the jacuzzi! Come on!
The pictures on the website were always showing this beautiful beach and yes, the beach was pretty BUT there were 100,000 people NEXT to us. See the pictures, you'll see what I mean.
THE CHINESE: Everything was fine and very relaxed when one night, Omar and I were sitting outside the room in our terrace and right in front of us passed 6 Chinese people (husband, wife, mom-in-law and cousins with son)... They took 2 or 3 rooms next to us.
The following morning, Omar took Shanti to the beach for a walk as soon as she woke up (6am) he came back laughing! He told me he saw 4 Chinese running after and trying to chase with paper cups those little crabs that look like spiders while on the beach (breakfast?)
The next day, we woke up at 6:30 because
one of the Chinese guys (maybe a 35 years old) was SHOUTING in front of our room calling his mother... What's wrong with knocking on her door? or using the phone to call her????????
The worst was yet to come, and no, it wasn't that they went to the pool with their laptops playing LOUD music while the rest of us just wanted to read or sleep. It wasn't that they were smoking INSIDE the pool, it was that they washed their underwear and hang it in the path between the rooms and the pool. EVERY MORNING I wake up and instead of going out and see the beautiful pool and flowers, I saw a bunch of powder blue male underwear and white bras. WHY??? Can't they just hang their stuff INSIDE their own rooms???
I really try to be open minded and understand why people behave differently but sometimes it's hard for me to tolerate the things I am describing above when I am surrounded with people from different parts for the world (the tourists were from Germany, England, Netherland, Sweden, Chile, Hong Kong, South Africa, France, Spain, Singapore) and yet the only ones behaving in a
way that I consider annoying were unfortunately the Chinese!!!
There are more photos below